Monday, March 4, 2019

Thoughts on Standardized Testing

I was a student in Texas in the 70s and 80s.  I remember when testing became a thing. I understand why it became a thing - kids graduating high school with no reading or math abilities - AND no one being held accountable.  Yes, it sucks we couldn't trust teachers, or parents, or principals, or anyone else to actually make sure kids were learning what they were supposed to be learning.

Then, I suppose understandably, testing took over.  There became a loop of matching test questions and outcomes to curriculum and so on.

In the 90s and 00's, I worked various jobs for the testing industry.  I saw how test questions were tested, how passing standards were set.  I spent at 8-10 years scoring essays of all grades.  (I also saw a real decline in writing abilities over that time.)

So now we all complain about the stress, and the teaching to the test, and the teaching of testing strategies. 

But what if we didn't?  What if we just stopped stressing about the test?  What if we didn't teach to the test? What if we didn't teach test taking strategies?

What if - we simply never put the curriculum standards (the actual standard by number) in the classroom?  What if we never talked about the test with the students? 

What if we simply taught the students what the curriculum says is appropriate for age and grade level, gave them testing assessments along the way that were similar enough to "THE TEST" - and when the time came, just gave them the test. 

I know, I know.  It's all about the results, and the money - all the money - so much money - tied to those results. 

But what if we just left the kids out of all of that part of it and just let them be students, learning cool stuff in school? 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

What he remembers

Every day when Noah gets in the car after summer school, I ask how his day was.  First, he always tells me what he ate.  Of course.  Then I ask if they did math, how did that go (not well).  What did they read - he doesn't remember.

The other day there was a funny exception to his not remembering what they read.  I wish I knew exactly what the lesson was.  There was reading and some video.

He told me all about Einstein and when they took out his brain to study it.  He asked if that was real.  How did they get his brain out.  He also vaguely remembered something about cars traveling. 

At least something got his attention! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Long standing jokes with Noah

I can't believe our boy is going to be 8 in a few days.  It's getting harder to remember life before him.  (At my age that's not really surprising!) 

I started playing with his little feet while Ching was still pregnant.  She'd be asleep, I'd have insomnia, and Noah would be moving around - I assumed it was his feet.  Somewhere along the way I started joking with him at bedtime that I was going to eat his feeties.  I'd joke how delicious they looked, that I might put some bbq sauce on them.  He always squeals and says NO, Don't Eat The Feeties.  We still do this some nights.

The other thing we've done for a few years is joke that whenever he has the hiccups it's because he's growing.  Every time he gets them I tell him to stop growing. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Traveling Man

As school was ending, Noah was telling his teachers about his upcoming trip to Colorado.  His special ed teacher has worked with him since kindergarten and loves to hear about his travels.  We got to talking about how many places he's been to.  Here's the list - not really in any order:

Texas - Dallas, Ft. Worth, Houston, Austin and Galveston.  Some multiple times to visit family.
Las Vegas, NV  He was too young to remember this one, too.  Now he wants to go again.
Nashville, TN  Twice. Ching and I wanted to go, it's the most like Texas without flying.
Ocean City, MD  I think 3 times, he likes the beach there.
Atlantic City, NJ  He was too young to remember his first beach.  Second time he was scared of the aquarium.
Warren, NJ  to visit family
Philadelphia, PA
NYC, NY.  His idea - he loved taking the train there and everything about it.
West Virginia - we took a scenic train ride that was cool.
Denver and Breckenridge, CO.  So happy he really enjoyed the mountains!

That's a lot in seven years!  He loves it.  Before we even left Denver last week he was asking where we're going next! 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

I, like so many other moms who blog about their kid(s), started off strong when he was a baby and toddler, then lost the thread as he got older.  Some stop because the kid asks them to, or the kids become more aware of being written about.  Some because like just gets too busy. 

For me it just became easier to do quick updates on facebook.  But now we know they're evil.  And, honestly, it would be very time consuming to get all that in a format that he could show his kids. 

But, Noah is still such an interesting kid!  And I love him more than ever.  Maybe I miss writing 

Our boy is a planner.  And a master asker of questions.  When I told him he was going to have dance rehearsal this Saturday, the questions weren't just about what time, and exactly where, but down to the level of would I walk in with him or just drop him off.  Ha!

Bath Time With Noah

He again told me just how very old I am. Which led to more talks on dying. I told him I'll be around to see his grandchildren. Which led to having to reassure him that girls have babies and not boys. Then he told me him and his bestie had babies in the 80s. (not sure where he heard "the 80s" but he thinks it's ancient history) HUH? So I asked if he was going to live with (marry is not really a word he gets) her in the future. He said yes, but he still wanted to live with me, too. And in this house, he doesn't want to sell this house.

If he wasn't in the bathtub I would have tried to record some of this.  He's so crazy.  

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Real Estate Update

There have been no updates because there has been no real estate.  I spent the first few months after I got my license doing the normal new agent stuff.  I sent out letters and postcards to my neighborhood.  I hosted a couple of open houses for another agent.  (This is supposed to result in getting buyers who don't have agents yet to work with me.)  I tried helping another agent find tenants for his rental listing.  (The goal here is that potential renters either decide to become buyers, or over the long term become buyers in the future who will remember me.)  None of this resulted in anything.  Nothing.  I didn't even end up finding the renters who moved into the rental. 

During all of this, my personal life was going through some of the most down times maybe ever.  The worst of it hit just as about the time I was going to finally start cold calling people in my neighborhood. 

Now, it's summer and Noah is home.  And while I know there are tons of moms who make work and being a stay at home mom happen, apparently I'm not one of them. 


So I'm at a professional impasse.  I can't do anything for a couple more weeks until Noah is at least at summer school three hours a day.  But it's hard to be any kind of motivated when the meager effort I've put forth so far has been futile.  I'm not ready to call it quits yet.  I just need one thing to go right.